Jessica Barton came to the social work profession from a unique background. Rather than studying traditional social worker field, Barton majored in English Literature. After graduating from college she entered the Peace Corps before finally returning to school to receive a Master’s Degree in journalism. Discovering that she was not cut-out to be a journalist, she entered social work. Still, she noted that her work as a journalist was reflected in her ultimate path towards social work, as she was always drawn towards stories that attempted to lift the downtrodden. It was then a natural step towards social work. She would later receive a Masters of Social Work and begin her career as a social worker.
Barton’s work as a social worker spans a wide array of role and responsibilities. One area of her work involves the implementation of games as a therapeutic model with the teenagers. Barton notes that she came to realize the importance of incorporating games into her therapeutic practices because of the particularities of some of her clients. Many of the individuals she worked with came from a difficult background and had difficulty trusting or taking seriously the therapeutic of or counseling process. As a result, she had difficulty creating the ‘therapeutic space’. As a means of counteracting this challenge, she began implementing improvisational games to demarcate the therapeutic setting. From this start, she began expanding the games to target specific therapeutic goals. For instance, she regularly implements games that work to build trust, freedom, and group cohesion. She notes that the games can improve the group’s overall mood and contribute to mental health gains. Still, the most important aims of the group activities are to gain insights into the teenagers and their behavior.